Survey Looks at How Much Uber Drivers Are Earning Per Hour

In this March 15, 2017 file photo, a sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York.

In this March 15, 2017 file photo, a sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York. AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File


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The findings include city-level figures that indicate drivers in some places are doing better than others.

Median hourly earnings for Uber drivers this year are about $13.70, before adding in tips and after deducting company fees and commissions, according to survey results released this week.

Ridester, a website devoted to the ride-booking business, conducted the survey. It also includes findings showing where Uber drivers earn the greatest and least amounts of pay, but with the caveat that these local level figures are based on a limited number of responses.

When factoring in tips, median earnings were $14.73 per hour.

Ridester’s survey focused on drivers for UberX, which they said is the Uber service that the most people drive for. Other services available through Uber’s cellphone app offer options like sport utility vehicles, and higher-end “black cars.”

About half of the roughly 2,600 poll respondents said driving for Uber is their only job, as opposed to a supplementary source of income.

“As politicians and courts continue to make decisions on employment and safety-net policies for gig economy workers, they will have to consider the possibility that for half of all gig economy workers, it may be their sole job,” Ridester notes in an article about the findings.

Locations where median income for Uber drivers was reported to be the highest included Honolulu, Seattle, Long Island and Pittsburgh. In those places median hourly earnings ranged from $24.09 to $25.55. Ridester cautions that these results are based on limited data.

Akron, Ohio, the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, and Houston, Texas were among the cities where Uber drivers earned the least, according to the survey. Median hourly pay in those places ranged from $4.94 in Akron to $8.67 in Houston.

Adding a twist to the findings are driver expenses, which Ridester pegs around 45.8 cents per mile. Offering an example, they say that after deducting per-mile costs from hourly earnings for an average Philadelphia driver, their pay drops from $17.62 to $9.25 per hour.

Uber didn’t respond to specific questions about the survey findings on Wednesday, but in an email stressed that living costs vary widely in the places where the company operates and encouraged focusing on the local level findings, as opposed to the national median figures.

The ride-booking firm also said that the expense estimates in the report are higher than what they’ve seen presented elsewhere.

Conducted online between May and July, the survey asked drivers to verify responses by providing screenshots of how much they earned. Overall, 2,625 people participated in the survey, with 719 providing usable screenshots showing how much money they made.

Ridester presented questions in the survey about topics outside of pay, including driver satisfaction with Uber. Based on a five star rating system, akin to how drivers are rated on the Uber app, 70 percent respondents gave the ride-booking company three stars or less.

Uber's second-quarter revenues this year were $2.8 billion, up 63 percent from the 2017, according to news reports from August. The firm's losses for the quarter were $891 million, less than the $1.1 billion the company lost in the same quarter the prior year. 

More information on the Ridester survey results can be found here.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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